Brunei Darussalam has the highest rate of obesity among children in Southeast Asia.
A United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) survey revealed that 14.1 per cent of Bruneian children between the ages of five and 19 are obese, if not overweight.
The figures correspond to findings by the Ministry of Health (MoH) that one out of five children in the country is obese, while three out of 10 are overweight.
Several parents recently spoke to the Bulletin about the alarming rise in childhood obesity. Siti Aminah binti Abdullah, whose eight-year-old daughter is fond of food containing sugar and cream, said, “We tried to get her to cut down on sugar, but it is quite a struggle, as she is a picky eater.”
Siti Aminah said. “As parents, we try to set a healthy example for our children, but she doesn’t like eating vegetables or other healthy food.
“As mother, I am concerned that her weight reached 60kg. For an eight-year-old, she is bigger than her classmates. She has to wear adult-sized clothing and shoes because it’s difficult to find her size in the children’s clothing section. We referred her to a dietician six months ago, and there has been progress. We motivate her by joining her in physical activities.”
Meanwhile Faisal bin Haji Omar said, “Overweight children are not something that should be overlooked. Parents must take this matter seriously.
“If their weight is not closely monitored, it will lead to non-communicable diseases related to obesity such as heart trouble, diabetes and kidney failure.
“As parents, we have a responsibility to keep our children healthy.”